Porn and Marriage: A Sobering Admonition To Husbands and Wives – Jarrod Jones

The other day I was helping my wife tidy up the kitchen. I asked her, “Christie, how would you feel if I was struggling with pornography?”

She was quiet for a moment. Then she answered, “Well, I would want you to get help. And I would wonder what was wrong with me.” She continued, “What would really upset me is if you refused to get help and weren’t repentant.”
According to one survey, half of all Christian men struggle with pornography. Here are some recommendations to help in this battle.

Take God seriously
There’s no rationalizing it. Pornography is sexual sin. Jesus and Paul use the word porneia for sexual immorality in Scripture. Porneia is a catch-all word that includes any sexual sin, from lust to adultery and everything in between, including pornography.
God means what He says about sexual sin – porneia. Through King Solomon in Proverbs 7, God says that a man in sexual sin is “like an ox going to the slaughter … little knowing it will cost him his life” (Proverbs 7:21-23). In other words, sexual sin can potentially ruin a man’s marriage, family, career, relationships, indeed his very life.

Fear sexual sin
My pastor once told me that men should put as many obstacles between themselves and sexual sin as possible.
The Apostle Paul put it this way, “Flee immorality!” (1 Corinthians 6:18). But do we take this seriously? I fear succumbing to sexual sin. I am so fearful in fact that I go to great lengths to guard my life. Here are a few safeguards I have put in place: My wife has full reign over my computer. She checks my e-mail. She views my Facebook. She has access to my mobile phone text messages.

One of my ministry assistants can log into my computer from Nashville and surf my hard-drive and Internet history. I don’t allow myself to be in a room alone with another woman. I don’t have “intimate” conversations with other women (even if they’re friends) about my life’s struggles, nor do I offer an ear to their struggles. In other words I keep an emotional desk between us.
Sometimes I unplug my hotel TV or have the hotel cut off cable capabilities. At the least, I might set two channels on the remote – ESPN and a news channel.
While traveling, I have a friend who calls me to basically say, “Jarrod, you have a wife who loves you and two precious boys. You have a beautiful family. Don’t ruin it.”

I repeat the following mantra to myself when lust creeps within me, “Lust never satisfies!” When the girl appears on the billboard, or in the magazine, newspaper, or coffee shop and her clothes are just too tight or too short or too bare, I close my eyes, repeat the mantra, and either turn away or walk away.
Often I reflect on how I don’t want to pass any generational sexual sin on to my sons through what I do in my own life.

Deal with the heart
A man’s pornography struggle or addiction very rarely has anything to do with his wife. Rather, pornography is an escape from pressure, stress, even responsibilities.

Also, the struggle can be an addiction to insatiable sexual “pleasure.” God invented sexual pleasure. It is His glorious idea. He gifted it to be experienced at its fullest in the marriage covenant of a man and woman. However, sexual pleasure is not the lifeblood of marriage. The lifeblood is the Gospel at work – the self-sacrificing love of one for another. An addiction to sexual pleasure, especially self-gratification through pornography, is selfishness at its peak. So at the end of the day the issue is the heart.

Jesus said if your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away (Matthew 18:9). However, Jesus’ point may have been that we can mutilate ourselves into a nub but still have lust in our hearts. We must read Scripture and let Scripture pierce, judge and read us.

Live in grace, not guilt
A great lie men believe is revealed in this statement: “No matter how hard I try I can’t get victory over this, so why fight it.” Men feel so guilt-ridden that they would rather be in the sin than try to escape it only to feel guilty again and again. They live in defeat. But the glory of Christianity is that in Christ we are not perverts. We are not losers. We are not hopeless. We are not slaves to sexual sin. We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). We are pure in Christ. We are His children.

Grace always wins out over guilt. Jesus didn’t just die for our sin. He died for our guilt, too. It’s the glorious grace and love of God revealed in the cross of Jesus Christ that is our inspiration, motivation and power to walk in purity. Guilt and the wrath of God are not God’s way of giving a person victory over sexual sin. It’s His grace. So what should we do in the fight against pornography and immorality?

Pray for power
Men, the battle is already lost if you don’t make sexual temptation a focus of prayer. The first thing that ought to hit the floor in the morning is your knees in pleas to God to keep you alert to sexual sin and empowered to flee it.

Wives, pray for your husband’s victory over the daily bombardment of sexual temptations hurled at him by the culture. Pray for him to be alert, convicted, empowered and pro-active to flee sexual immorality.

Repent of sin
One of the most gripping words in Scripture is repent. King David, a man after God’s own heart, committed sexual sin with a married woman and had her husband killed. Though he lived with the consequences, what set Him apart and kept him close to God’s heart was that he repented of his sin.

Men, sorrow over your sin coupled with repentance moves the heart of God. Through repentance comes reconciliation with Him and restoration by Him. If you have committed sexual sin, sorrow and repentance will be that which is more likely to bring reconciliation and restoration with your family also.

Wives, I encourage you to show grace if his heart is sorrowful and if he is making efforts to conquer sexual sin in his life. You will rejoice over the fruit that will come from his repentance.

Get help
In some ways, getting help is repentance in action. Men, you need to admit your sexual sin to a brother in Christ whom you regard highly. You need to share it with your pastor. You and your pastor might need to go together and confess to your wife. Marital counseling might be in order. I would recommend you get personal, Biblical, professional, Christian counseling.

Wives, I encourage you to be open-hearted and gracious if or when your husband sits before you and confesses sexual sin in his life. Out of his love for Christ, and his love for you and his family, he is taking steps of repentance to victory. Likewise, may the love of Christ and your love for Christ and family empower you to grant grace, forgive and press on in your marriage.

*Jarrod Jones is the author of “13 Ways To Ruin Your Life” (Gresham Hill Publishing 2008), which is available for free download at http://www.13waystoruinyourlife.com. Jarrod lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife Christie and sons Josiah and Titus. His Web site is http://www.jarrodjones.com.